Raymond in Beverly Hills, Part Two

Other goings on:

Been painting a lot.

       I need cookies and
              a strong mug of joe.


To all of you on the other side of the globe, I apologize for boring you with this message.

Emerson Clock Radio

8"x12" oil on canvas panel At about 9-inches wide, this is what would have been considered a small clock radio in its time. It is kind of small and weighs just about as much as a Sherman tank. No kidding (well, a little kidding). It seems that the manufacturer equated weight with perceived value. So, when confronted with a smallish radio they felt compelled to put a 200-pound lead weight in the bottom to lend heft and a sense of "You're still getting a lot for your money, mister." Reminds me of when devious little Cub Scouts carve out the bottom of their pinewood derby cars and fill them with nuts and bolts to make them roll faster in the race. They somehow think that nobody is going to notice the little 7-inch car that once weighed 12-ounces now weighs more than the kid. Not that I ever did such a thing—I was a saint of a Cub Scout. (I used my Dad's tube of graphite powder to cheat.) How the heck did I go from an old heavy clock radio to cheating at pinewood derbies? It must be all the paint fumes in here.

The Beverly Hills Art Show
I will be showing my wares in space #139, that's in the first park between Rodeo and Beverly Boulevards. Saturday & Sunday, October 18th & 19th (that's this coming weekend) / 10am to 5pm both days. If you, like everybody else, are coming just to see The Spousal Unit, She will be holding court starting Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday. Yes, I will be alone Saturday morning—unsupervised and probably getting into all sorts of trouble with the park rangers. They only tolerate me (i.e., don't tazer me) because they like Her. If you are going to be on this side of the world, come and see me—the weather looks like it is going to be fine.

Posted October 13, 2014

Raymond in Beverly Hills

Other goings on:

The Man Show: A Celebration of Men in Art
I will have a few pieces in this show at Cope Studios in Glendale.
Opening reception: Saturday, November
Show dates: November 1, 2014 to January 3, 2015
Cope Studios / 926 Western Avenue, Suite A & B, Glendale, CA 91201 Contact: Margaret Danielak @ 626-354-0359 or danielak@gmail.com


 Contemporary Masters, Artistic Eden IV I have a piece in this exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of History in Pasadena. The museum well be open and admittance free during Pasadena’s famed Art Night (www.artnightpasadena.org) celebration tonight, October 10 from 6pm to 10pm. If you miss that, the exhibit runs to January 11, 2015.
Pasadena Museum of History / 470 W. Walnut Street, Pasadena, CA 91103 / www.pasadenahistory.org

The Beverly Hills Art Show
October 18th & 19th • 10 am to 5 pm both days
Space #139 in the first park between Rodeo and Beverly Drives


To all of you on the other side of the globe, I apologize for boring you with this message.

Montgomery Ward Trim/Circular Saw

4"x6" oil on raymar panel Okay, go ahead and get all the "Monkey Wards" jokes out of your system—go ahead. Are you done? Great, let's move on. This is another "Raymond seeing this and saying to himself, 'Self, I gotta have that saw.'" The design of this saw is just fantastic. Being a trim saw, it is little—kind of a diminutive circular saw—using wickedly thin 4-inch blades. If it wasn't so Buck Rodgers cool (or Duck Dodgers for all you Daffy Duck fans out there), the little thing would scare me. It is definitely a tool designed for a limited, specific purpose and outside of that it would be a dangerous little devil. I don't know why I included that little detail shot of my signature other than my friend Sean encouraged me to shoot detail shots of my work because the depth of my paintings is lost in my regular overall pictures AND that The Spousal Unit's camera was handy to steal and it shoots up-close shots better than my camera and she wasn't around to see me steal it. Yes, I am an opportunistic camera pilferer.

Posted October 7, 2014

My Ben Hur Hand Drill

6"x4" oil on door skin panel Ben Hur is such a robust name for such a diminutive drill—I do not know if it is even a foot long—but that is the name stamped on the side. It is kind of like a Charlton Heston Mini-Me. Size aside, the tool feels great in my hands. A little loose, but well balanced and well worn. I love tools. I apologize for slacking off somewhat with my posts. The Beverly Hills Art Show is coming up next month (yes, they judged me in again and Yikes! it is in just three weeks) and I am working on a possible solo show for 2015. We will see how it pans out, but all this makes me hyper to paint or, at the least, yell at The Spawn a lot. Not that they listen—I would get more reaction from the bird bath if I yelled at it. So, I may slack off a bit with my posts every now and then. Now, excuse me while I go outside and yell at the bird bath.    
Posted September 30, 2014

Cincinnati Drill

4"x6" oil on door skin panel The actual title for this is "Vintage Electric Cincinnati Drill I Scored at a Local Yard Sale on a Tip From My Buddy Scott." I went after three drills at the yard sale, but couldn't swing the bargain I was looking for. So, I snagged this beauty alone, took her home and rewired her—she had thin white zip line from an ancient lamp for a power cord. There is a movie script somewhere in there and I doubt it would get a G rating. Anyway, I have a small slue* of these tool paintings coming at you. When you see me groping around in the dark like this, I am sniffing out possibilities for larger paintings by testing composition, colors, formats, etc. These minis tell me a lot. (Please don't tell The Spousal Unit I am groping about, there might be a slight misunderstanding and I might slightly miss a few digits before I can explain.)
Posted September 23, 2014

*Sorry. Should have given you an oxymoron warning there.
While your down here, may I suggest—for your listening pleasure—that you pick up some Bill Evans Trio?

Marissa Benedict

16"x24" oil on canvas Our friend Marissa is the Principal Trumpet for the Pasadena Symphony and Pops. She seems to be in considerable demand, playing all over with different high caliber ensembles. As a matter of fact, if you play video games, you have probably heard her trumpet in the background whilst you performed black ops or got called to duty or blew the head off that annoying zombie waitress or deprived that very inconsiderate terrorist of his morning cup of joe. You name it, that violent act was backed up by a first class trumpet player who—against her better judgement, I'm sure—agreed to pose for me. Thank you, Marissa!
Posted September 18, 2014

Izze Bottle and Tang Jar

6"x4" oil on raymar panel So, Spawn Number One comes home with that Izze bottle and says, "Here, paint this." Considering the imp does not drink soda, I was wondering if he was picking up his old man's keen observational powers. It is actually known as scrounging, but keen observational powers sounds so much better, don't you think? And how often do you get to use the word keen, anyway? Enough about the painting and my dreadful vernacular. I found out that my recent car ills (one being it dying on me down in Little Tokyo when it was a lovely 108 degrees outside) were caused by my battery being 10 years old. When my mechanic saw the battery, he said it was a freak for lasting so long. I was really let down. I was hoping for a Super Freak. Ow. (I know that really bad joke dates me, but I couldn't resist.)

Posted September 16, 2014

Little Falcon Camera

4"x6" oil on raymar panel The number of cameras I have acquired due to my addiction is... many. I will not commit to a solid number. That level of commitment would scare me. Anyhoo... This little gem of a camera was hiding, kind of forgotten, in our curio when I noticed it the other day. Why I did not paint it when I acquired it years ago, I will never know. The camera is in mint condition and beautifully designed and deserves more of my attention. So, here it is in smooshed, globbed, and otherwise squished oil paint.   
Posted September 9, 2014

sold • private collection round lake, ny

Old Monrovia Gas Station

16"x24" oil on canvas WARNING: The following rant will be long and quite possibly the most boring ramble you will read over the next two years. I'm going for a record here, so if you're poaching eggs, better go and keep an eye on your timer—you don't want to overdo your eggies and the timer will be much more exciting to watch than this diatribe is to read. This is one of four pieces that I recently had professionally photographed. When I went to pick up the pieces after they were shot, I slipped into the "backroom" of the studio to talk to the poor suffering photog who shot them—see if I could pick up some pointers from a pro. I have found that the pass key to talking to the pros seems to be the words "cross polarization." If you use this technique, you may not be a complete noob, just an annoying artist asking too many questions. So, I whipped those two babies out, getting me to the "Quick Judgement" stage of the conversation. That's when, in a matter of seconds, they size me up either as a nice guy who paints pieces that are challenging to photograph OR as the nefarious S.O.B. that nature created to curse their very existence by painting those damn pieces that just made their morning in the studio a nightmare so bad, they upchucked their morning bagel and coffee. I presented myself as blandly as possible (not a hard thing for me considering that a plain white wall looks exciting by comparison) and was judged relatively harmless. After gaining admittance, I found out that the poor guy suffered just like me when photographing my work. It always comes down to: "Your colors... MAN! Don't get me wrong... I love them, but... MAN!" This sentiment is sometimes accompanied by mild cussing, which I find completely appropriate for the situation. He proceeded by telling me how he had to selectively pick and isolate colors in PhotoShop and "... beat them down with a stick." I have had similar conversations with other professional photographers and it is almost always sung to the same tune. The commonality of this "challenge" is really frustrating because the problem can throw the values off—stroke by stroke—in the digital images of my work. I work very hard on my values. By values, I don't mean moral values; I am as morally bankrupt as that neighbor who, undercover of nightfall, chucks snails from their yard into yours. No, I mean the tonal values in my paintings. Values hold a painting together, if they are off, my work falls apart. If you see a red in the sky of one of my paintings that appears darker or lighter than the blues or purples or grays or whatever color is around it, it is most likely a digital anomaly. In person, that sky may look like thick and gooey sculpted icing on a cake that was applied by a psychotic baker who went off his meds that day, but at least the values hold together. This is because I worked back and forth and back and forth, over and over, to get the sky to work—the red should not appear (much) lighter or darker than its neighbors. Those photographic conversations kinda sorta let my own evil, bully of a camera off the hook... a bit. I still think it is evil, evil, evil, and it hates me, but it would appear that the digital realm in general is what dislikes my work. Did I say that my camera is evil? Just wanted to make sure I got that adjective in there. Okay, that is the end of the rant. Go eat your eggs.
Posted September 5, 2014

Salt Overshadows Pepper

6"x4" oil on raymar panel Empty containers on their way to the trash, hijacked and painted. Yes, it is just that simple: I steal trash. Man, I am so happy my mother does not read these commentaries.
Posted September 3, 2014

The 1201 Apts

24"x16" oil on deep canvas My good buddy Sean Finnochio found this one for me. What a guy! Check out his work at www.33stewartavenue.com. We collect his work and his beard is simply awesome.
Posted August 29, 2014

Chicco Castle Pounder Toy Thingy

4"x6" oil on door skin panel This was a gift from some good friends of ours to Spawn Number One upon his fiery entry into this totally unprepared world. It is a great toy. Both of The Spawn have pounded on it over the years. Heck, I've pounded on it over the years. It is a good (and acceptable) stress reliever. It is also supposed to be a great developmental tool for young sprouts. To which I say (having only mentally matured to about the level of a two year old myself): "Who cares a flyin' flip about that? Find me something to pound on, and now! Oh yeah, get me a cookie while your at it—and no coconut. Oops. Sorry. Pleeease." In other Raymond news... I have been judged into the Beverly Hills Art Show. Yeah. It is an October happening. Further details to follow via carrier pigeon.
Posted August 27, 2014

Kodak Brownie Starflash Camera Red

6"x4" oil on door skin panel This is one of two of these cameras that reside in my studio, staring at me with those unblinking "paint me" eyes everyday. The other one is blue and I have painted them both before. You will just have to suffer with another—those eyes are irresistible. Tomorrow is last call for The Cityscape Show IV over at the George Billis Gallery in Culver City (see info below). Last chance to check it out.
Posted August 22, 2014

sold • private collection west hollywood, ca
The Cityscape Show IV
Show Dates: July 12th to August 23rd

Summer Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
George Billis Gallery
2716 S. La Cienega Boulevard / Los Angeles, CA 90034
310.838.3685 / la@georgebillis.com

The Verdigris Apts

24"x16" oil on deep canvas This is the first in a series of three apartments I painted. It took quite a long time to research this project; we went out a lot shooting photographs. I say "we" because I learned early on that I cannot simultaneously drive and look for things to paint. I was/am an unholy terror, risking the lives of all peace loving citizens where ever I found myself driving down the street/sidewalk taking pictures. Seeing my car approach was kind of like seeing a psychotic, completely confused hurricane coming down the street at you. A hurricane that, by the way, might slam itself into reverse. No. The only adult present—that would be The Spousal Unit—banned me from the practice. With her mature guidance and up-to-date drivers license, we photographed approximately 30 of these buildings in just one morning—her driving with me jumping out taking pictures. (In the morning we shoot east facing buildings. West facing get shot in the afternoon. It's all about the light.) I still had a hard time with the concept that the car had to stop before I jumped out (it's called "tuck 'n' roll"), but I must admit that we make a great, and now safe, team. It has been hard accepting that I need adult supervision (pretty much all the time), but this artist and a lot of innocent parkway trees would be dead without the guiding hand of that goddess. So... She drives. If you would like to see this piece in person, it and its two cohorts are hanging, until Saturday, at the George Billis Gallery in Culver City (see info below). Check them out.
Posted August 20, 2014

The Cityscape Show IV
Show Dates: July 12th to August 23rd

Summer Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
George Billis Gallery
2716 S. La Cienega Boulevard / Los Angeles, CA 90034
310.838.3685 / la@georgebillis.com

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